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2...d5 is the move which has put a number off playing the Trompowsky in recent years, but matters are by no means dead from a white perspective. Indeed, rising stars Arjun Erigaisi and Jeffery Xiong have been happy to tackle 2...d5 in recent weeks. Erigaisi also continues to dabble in the Jobava-Prié and we’ll see him enjoying contrasting fortunes this month

Download PGN of June ’22 d-Pawn Specials games

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The Trompowsky: 2...d5 3 e3 c5 4 c3 [D00]

How best to tackle 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 d5? We’ll look at four methods, beginning with the simple, untheoretical and not especially challenging 3 e3 c5 4 c3. After the by-no-means-forced 4...Nc6 5 Nd2 cxd4 6 exd4 Black has a few options.

Magnus quickly outmanoeuvred Sam Shankland after 6...h6, but that should be OK for Black, whereas 6...Bf5 7 Ngf3 e6 was well met by 8 Nh4! in Erigaisi, A - Sarin, N.

The Trompowsky: 2...d5 3 Bxf6 exf6 [D00]

The older approach was, of course, 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 d5 3 Bxf6 exf6 4 e3 when 4...Bd6 and other moves leave White with a choice of set-up. 5 c4 is the move it would be nice to make work, but 5...dxc4 6 Bxc4 0-0 7 Nc3 f5!? 8 Nf3 Nd7 9 0-0 Nf6 is rock solid for Black:

After 10 Qc2 c6 White mistimed the d4-d5 push and was quickly swept aside on the kingside in Ledger, S - Jones, S.

The Trompowsky: 2...d5 3 e3 c5 4 Bxf6 gxf6 [D00]

The modern main line - arguably of the whole Trompowsky - has been 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 d5 3 e3 c5 4 Bxf6 gxf6 5 dxc5. After 5...e6 6 c4 dxc4 7 Nd2 it’s been known for a while that Black should return the pawn to cause some structural damage with 7...c3 8 bxc3:

However, here it’s important to go 8...Nd7! rather than 8...Bxc5, as was preferred in Xiong, J - Vidit, S.

The Veresov: 3...c5 4 Bxf6 gxf6 5 e3 [D01]

The final option after 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 d5 is 3 e3 c5 4 Bxf6 gxf6 5 Nc3, aka 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nc3 d5 3 Bg5 c5 4 Bxf6 gxf6 5 e3 and a Veresov. We haven’t considered that opening too much of late, but this remains a reasonable surprise try, or at least plenty of players still aren’t going for the 5...cxd4 6 exd4 h5! as Black. 5...Nc6 is quite playable too, but 6 Qh5 at least gives White what he wants:

It was only a blitz encounter, but Agamaliev, G - Van Foreest, J, is still quite thematic, as well as instructive.

The Jobava-Prié Attack: 3...Bf5 4 e3 [D00]

After 1 d4 d5 2 Nc3 Nf6 White is, of course, much more likely to go 3 Bf4 these days, with 3...Bf5 4 e3 preferred to 4 f3 in Erigaisi, A - Sjugirov, S, which continued 4...e6 5 Bd3 Bg6:

Aggression most certainly wasn’t off Erigaisi’s agenda and 6 h4! quickly posed some early questions.

The Jobava-Prié Attack: 3...e6 4 Nb5 [D00]

After 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nc3 d5 3 Bf4 e6 the topical choice is 4 Nb5 when 4...Na6 5 e3 Be7 6 h4!? saw White managing to involve Harry a move faster than Jorden van Foreest did:

After 6...c6 7 Nc3 c5 8 Nf3 Black might have taken play back into Van Foreest-Giri with 8...0-0, but that was delayed in Erigaisi, A - Harsha, B, where 8...Bd7 9 Ne5 Nb4?! 10 g4! grabbed a powerful early initiative.

The London: 3...c5 4 e3 Nc6 5 Nbd2 Nh5!? [D02]

One topical line of the 1 d4 d5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 Bf4 London is 3...c5 4 e3 Nc6 5 Nbd2 Nh5!? when 6 dxc5 Nxf4 7 exf4 gives Black a few options:

As 7...e6?! 8 Nb3 looks like insufficient compensation and 7...Qa5 is perhaps also not fully optimal, the Catalan style 7...g6 is probably best, as we’ll see in Czopor, M - Nasuta, G.

Let’s hope for some more attacking magic to enjoy and explore next month!

Until then, Richard

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